Graduate Studies

Mr. Self-Taught

Most of my learning experience with digital forms has originated from my own curiosity or my necessity to complete an objective. I remember creating a website in HTML for a campus student organization because my friend at the time, a computer science major, thought my curiosity was enough to learn the computer language. Learning the language was much like learning the Markdown tools in my ENGL 856 graduate course: a trial-and-error process with bits of advice or suggestions blended in from my friend who was graduating and could no longer be the webmaster for the group.

Although I had the standard MS Office course, I always had my feet wet enough in the digital space to be somewhat literate. Today I maintain two websites through Wix.com and Weebly.com for my personal poetry platform and for a project I co-founded with a partner. I have uploaded my audio for poetry published online. I have kept up and retired a few blogs about writing over the years. In all these areas and more, I learned enough about these mediums to develop a healthy understanding and perhaps teach them to others. I have attempted to teach myself Photoshop, but I don’t feel I know it well enough for much success despite viewing YouTube tutorials. Usually, if I can’t learn a new digital tool, I will work around it to complete my objectives.

As a writing professor, I find that good composition practices play a minimal role in the digital space. Grammar notwithstanding, I do not find writing as a goal or means to an end when it comes to learning digital media. Of course, the two can be merged in classrooms for success in both writing and digital tools, but I think the two would rather remain mutually exclusive from a cultural standpoint.

That does not bode well, however, for a graduate English major learning Digital Technology for the English Professional.

2 thoughts on “Mr. Self-Taught

  1. I’m right there with you, Len. I have had to teach myself many things on the computer (outside of this class of course). And I also will work around tools that I can’t figure out. I think that digital media could be used as a tool to help students see the importance of clear, concise writing; and it may be a way for them to practice their writing that they may not otherwise enjoy. I don’t know, but I think I’m going to explore this a little more.

  2. Len, I’m not sure I follow your point about mutual exclusivity: “As a writing professor, I find that good composition practices play a minimal role in the digital space. Grammar notwithstanding, I do not find writing as a goal or means to an end when it comes to learning digital media. Of course, the two can be merged in classrooms for success in both writing and digital tools, but I think the two would rather remain mutually exclusive from a cultural standpoint.”

    Are you saying that people writing in digital spaces should/could pay more attention to the activity of writing?

    I sense you are gesturing towards a problem that you perceive but I’m not quite sure what it is.

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